A couple of weeks ago Emirates revealed the details of their new first class suite, which is debuting on select 777-300ERs. Emirates is the first airline to introduce fully enclosed suites (like, floor-to-ceiling, rather than just a door), and there are lots of other great features to the seat as well.
The plane started flying today to Brussels and Geneva, and looks incredible. Here’s a video Emirates published based on the first flight:
The bad news is that this product will have a very limited rollout for the time being. Emirates only plans on having the new first class on at most nine 777-300ERs by 2019, which is a very small percentage of the fleet. They don’t have immediate plans to install the suites on the A380, and also don’t have immediate plans to reconfigure existing 777s with the suites, but rather are just offering this on newly delivered planes. That’s a bit disappointing, in my opinion.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who really wants to fly this new product, though Emirates is being super restrictive about it. As I wrote about as soon as the cabin was launched, Emirates doesn’t have any first class award availability on flights featuring the new first class.
That means the only option is to outright pay cash for first class. The good news is that Emirates is known for their fairly reasonable first class fares. We’re still talking about a lot of money in absolute terms, but at least their first class fares are comparatively low.
Emirates has three first class fare classes — F, A, and P — so when I wrote about their lack of award availability, I also showed some of their better first class fares.
For example, Emirates has a ~$3,100 roundtrip first class fare from Addis Ababa to Brussels, which I’d consider to be pretty great.
However, it looks like Emirates has recently added a further restriction to tickets in their new first class. Emirates is only selling tickets in their full “F” bucket for travel on their new 777s, and not in the discounted “A” or “P” buckets. So not only can you not redeem miles for that, but you have to pay the full fare ticket cost, rather than the cost of a discounted fare.
The good news is that some “F” fares aren’t actually that outrageously priced. It’s still a lot of money, but some airlines price tickets in the “F” bucket at $20,000+ roundtrip. For example, I see a roundtrip ticket from Colombo to Dubai for ~$4,800 in “F,” which would be in the new first class:
I suspect over time they’ll start to once again make bookings in the lower fare classes available on these flights. It’s reasonable for them to want to restrict the product for the time being, given the smaller cabin and also presumably the initial interest in it.
I’m kicking myself for not having purchased an Emirates first class ticket yet, though I guess I’ll have to do it at a higher price now.
Anyone know of any cheaper full “F” fares on Emirates to/from Brussels or Geneva?